El Camino Travel Closes Pre-Seed Funding to be the Travel Industry’s First Experiential Marketplace for Women
Investors include Slauson & Co., Trip Ventures, and veterans from Airbnb and Skift
Washington, DC (February 22, 2023): El Camino Travel (El Camino), the award-winning, modern travel brand that empowers women to travel boldly, today announced a $1.1 Million pre-seed funding round led by Slauson & Co. with participation from Trip Ventures. Other participating investors included angel backers Joe Zadeh, former VP of Experiences at Airbnb; Kinjil Mathur, CMO of Squarespace and Rafat Ali, Founder and CEO of Skift. Generating millions in revenue since launch, funding will accelerate El Camino’s technology build, brand awareness in the $360B tours and experiences sector of the industry, and its mission to be the first premium marketplace for women travelers that connects them directly to exceptional experiences.
Led by industry veteran, Katalina Mayorga, and Justin Bridges, El Camino originally started as a traditional small-group travel company, but over the years saw first-hand the growing pain points of women travelers who prioritized safety and valued unique immersive experiences but lacked credible options when booking. As Google searches for ‘solo female travel’ in the US grew by 312% over the past 12 months in 2022, El Camino’s revenue grew by 172% from 2021 to 2022 proving women will pay a premium for quality curation.
“In a world full of brands in fashion, beauty, and health that cater to the needs and priorities of women – travel has yet to keep up. Women travelers have long been ignored by industry giants even though they are the fastest-growing segment. They deserve more. We are laser focused on delivering them the first high-quality and trusted experiential marketplace that always keeps them top of mind as a customer and makes it easy to book completely unique travel experiences that they would not be able to find on their own. Most importantly, they will no longer have to sacrifice the quality of their travel experience because of their gender,” shares Katalina Mayorga, CEO and Co-founder of El Camino.
El Camino’s current marketplace offerings include small group trips to destinations like Morocco, Guatemala, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Egypt, Bolivia, Greece, and others, with an average order value of $3,400. By starting with small group tours, they were able to strategically address many of women’s pain points in one purchase, fill a gap in the market for highly curated multi-day trips, and develop a framework with tour operators that could be applied to new destinations for faster growth.
Women travelers who are unable to join a trip, but are still looking for inspiration and support can turn to the El Camino Clubhouse, an annual membership that costs $99 a year and gives them access to unparalleled travel recommendations, curated travel guides, a forum moderated by the world’s best destination experts, and a community of like minded travelers.
Austin Clements, Co-Founder of Slauson & Co. and El Camino investor shares, “What got us excited about El Camino is the way they are finding the best travel experiences that consider the needs and preferences of half of the world’s population – women. Their success in building an incredible brand that has stood out in a crowded space, and their years of experience with their customers and travel partners uniquely position them to modernize and scale a sector prime for major growth. We believe they are primed to become a formidable competitor on volume and quality of experiences to some of the biggest names in travel."
Funding will be primarily used to accelerate the development of its tech that underlies their marketplace which dramatically increases efficiency and lowers costs for El Camino as well as its operating partners. In addition, the company will be able to expand its inventory to keep up with growing demand for its small group trips.
For more information about El Camino, visit https://www.elcamino.travel.
Meet the ECT Founders
CEO & Co-Founder
As the Colombian-American founder of El Camino Travel, Katalina Mayorga has been on a mission to change the way women travel, making it more accessible and inclusive. As a veteran of the travel industry, she has led El Camino to become one of the fastest-growing experiential marketplaces and subscription services that empower women to travel boldly and off the beaten path. She’s equally determined to use her tech-enabled travel company to make a positive impact by supporting the local operators who are critical to the experience but lack the technological support to grow and scale. Katalina has been featured in the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, and Washington Post, among several other prominent media outlets, and is often tapped for her expertise in emerging trends within the travel industry.
Justin Bridges has spent a large part of his career as an independent creative entrepreneur, who has collaborated with Skillshare to create marketing and design courses that have accrued over 10.5M minutes watched by over 110,000 students. From his own production studio for brands and artists to partnering with experiential firm Studio Rider, Justin has been inspired to work with influential brands such as Kith, Pyer Moss, and Public School to name a few. In 2021 he decided to partner with Katalina Mayorga and join the innovative team at El Camino Travel as Chief Marketing Office and co-founder. Justin’s career experience has spanned content creation, hype and virality, community building, and marketing. He’s excited to use that experience to help El Camino scale its mission and purpose to empower women to travel boldly and off the beaten path.
CMO & Co-Founder
About El Camino Travel
El Camino Travel is an award-winning, experiential marketplace and digital community that empowers women to travel boldly and off the beaten path. Operating in 12 countries, they connect women travelers directly to exceptional and unique travel experiences. The Washington DC-based travel tech company is on a mission to make experiencing the world more inclusive and accessible for women travelers.
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